When it comes to losing weight or getting in better physical shape, I often hear people voice their frustration that nothing they seem to be doing is working.
No matter what diet they try, or what new exercise video they start to follow, they just can’t lose weight.
Or they just can’t seem to get a six pack.
I’m sure you’ve either heard it or said it yourself.
What I want to respond back with each time is, “Do you really mean nothing is working? Have you really stuck 100% to your meal plan or 100% to your work out plan several times a week, for at least a month?”
Not to belittle the frustration of battling weight gain and fighting against poor genetics, because believe me I know it can be infuriating, but for most people, a healthy deficit in calories and a consistent, challenging work out plan will produce results. (And I say “most” for the exception of those on medications that greatly affect hormones and metabolism).
I first got into working out when I began cheerleading in high school. Our summer conditioning felt intense for a girl who had never been into sports before…and it got me motivated to get in better shape so I could do my best. As anyone who has seen cheerleaders perform knows, the sport (yes, it is a sport..end of discussion) requires extensive strength to toss and catch other bodies in the air. I remember noticing a huge difference in my body composition after my first year of cheering. All of a sudden I had a ton of muscle and began to look toned where there used to be just flab. And my 15 year-old low self-esteem? It began to rise.
During my senior year of high school I began exercising consistently (several days a week) at the gym, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been 7 years of consistent physical training, and at age 25 (well, I’ll be 25 in a week) I’ve never felt better or been in better shape.
So what’s my point? Certainly not to brag. Trust me, I am well aware of my many weaknesses and flaws. But my point is this: consistency is key if you want to see results.
And that is true in so many areas. Most people, especially women, cannot eat whatever they feel like, whenever they want, and sit around on the couch and still look great in a bikini. Some can, but not many.
If you are serious about wanting to lose 10 pounds, you need to accurately track and record every calorie you eat, each day, so that you know whether you are meeting your target for the day or week.
We often eat “well” one day, and then the next day we feel proud of ourselves so we want to treat thyself to a cookie or a piece of bread because “we earned it”. Come on…you know you’ve done it too ;-). But before we know it, not only did we blow our calories for the day, we’ve now thrown off our entire week because what “surely only has 150 calories” really has 500.
There are about 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat. If you have a deficit of 500 calories a day (meaning you’ve burned 500 more than you’ve consumed), you will loose 1 pound a week. That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room when you’re really trying to shed pounds (no pun intended). So that is why its so important we don’t play the mental/emotional game and eat what we think feels right. We have to be accurate and accountable. Otherwise we will never see results.
Consistency for more than a day, more than a week, more than a month, is key.
We can apply it in the same way to working out. The “students” on the video in Shaun T’s Insanity routine do not look the way they do because they followed his work out for a week or two. They look the way they do because they have trained consistently for months upon months and have built up muscle and burned fat over the course of time.
Want to see results from your work out? Research a workout plan appropriate for your level of fitness or consult a trainer, and make the decision to stick to your plan for at least three months. I can guarantee you will see results. And those results, earned by your hard work, will be what motivates you to keep going.
And soon you’ll find that you really can do it; that you don’t have to be a crazy, fitness-obsessed, meat head to look good, feel great, and most importantly…be healthy.
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice, and I’ll say it over and over. If I can do it, you can do it.
One of my favorite FREE resources for tracking food intake and activity: LiveStrong.com